An injudicious reader of history is liable to be misled by the circumstance that historians and travellers occupy themselves principally (as is natural) with the relation of whatever is remarkable, and different from what commonly takes place in their own time or country. They do not dwell on the ordinary transactions of human life (which are precisely what furnish the data on which political economy proceeds), but on everything that appears an exception to general rules, and in any way such as could not have been anticipated. The sort of information which the political economist wants is introduced, for the most part, only incidentally and obliquely; and is to be collected, imperfectly, from scattered allusions. So that if you will give a rapid glance, for instance, at the history of these islands from the time of the Norman conquest to the present day, you will find that the differences between the two states of the country, in most of the points with which our science is conversant, are but very imperfectly accounted for in the main outline of the narrative.
If it were possible that we could have a full report of the common business and common conversation, in the markets, the shops, and the wharfs of Athens and Piræus, for a single day, it would probably throw more light on the state of Greece at that time, in all that political economy is most concerned with, than all the histories that are extant put together.